A Sacrifice?

Josh and Beth Paulick on July 29, 2015

    “For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office.  People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa….Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter?  Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought!  It is emphatically no sacrifice.  Say rather it is a privilege.  Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment.  All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us.  I never made a sacrifice.”  David Livingstone said this of spending his life spreading the gospel in Africa while he was speaking at Cambridge University.  While on our trip in Togo, Beth read these words in a book, “Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full:  Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms.”  The author, Gloria Furman was using the comparison of being a missionary is a lot like being a mom in this sense that it isn’t a sacrifice.  Beth read these words a few days after spending the night in a hospital in West Africa with Elijah after having fevers for 5 days and not eating/drinking and after he started vomiting.  
    Its funny in a way that we have heard more than once, how can we without a second thought take our small children to a West African country.  “Aren’t you afraid?”  We’ve been teaching Elijah Bible verses, with the most recent and most recited verse being Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Were we afraid when Elijah got sick and didn’t seem to be getting any better?  Yes, we were, but we are not afraid about taking them to Togo. “For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” has been in our minds a lot.  He’s with us when we go to the grocery store, and when we go to West Africa.  It doesn’t matter where we are, we just have to trust Him. 

IMG_0902 Our family in front of the hospital of Hope

    We had an incredible trip.  It was very difficult for us to leave there, but we were excited to come home in order to be able to get back there quicker.  The most frustrating part about being there this time was not being able to communicate and build relationships with the people.  We are so excited to finish raising our support and leave for language school.  
    While we were in Togo Josh was on call just about every other day and he participated in about 55 surgeries (on average in the states he does 15-20 surgeries and 25-30 endoscopies a month). Even with that he was able to spend more time with Beth and the kids than he does while working in the states. One little girl that Josh did surgery on for an infection in her leg had her mother and grandmother staying with her. The infection didn’t clear up as quickly as would be expected after the surgery so she stayed in the hospital for a few extra days. While she was in the hospital her mother and grandmother saw the Jesus film and loved it. After watching it a second time one of the chaplains spoke with the grandmother in depth about the gospel and left her to think and pray about it. The next day she said she could see clearly that Jesus is the truth that she never realized before. When asked what that reality meant for her, she said that this would transform her life and that she had given her heart to Jesus the night before.

IMG_0880 Josh in surgery

   The kids did amazing on the flights and with all the traveling.  Beth had the hardest time with the traveling, but we made it there and back :)  While traveling back from Togo, we got stuck in Paris on the plane for 6 hours, and ultimately ended up with our flight canceled and stayed the night at a hotel in Paris.  Although with how late it was by the time we go to the hotel, we didn’t get to explore the city with the kids.  We are still amazed at how well the kids did though with all the changes.  
    So now that we are home, what now?  We have been busy with Josh working more call days to make up for being gone and Beth has been working and getting ready for the baby.  We have a little over 4 weeks until baby boy is due and are excitedly waiting for him while preparing for his arrival.  We are also excited to have 3 churches scheduled in the upcoming months and can not wait to share what the Lord is doing in Togo to those churches.  

Prayers and Praises
 -Praise that we had an incredible trip to Togo
-Pray that God would continue to raise up ministry partners (medical staff, pastoral/church planters, prayer and financial supporters)
-Pray for our teammates in Togo as they continue to be instruments that Lord is using to build His church.
-Praise that we have two churches that we are scheduled to speak at next month and a third in upcoming months
-Pray for Beth and the baby as he is due August 30th.